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Rentplus CEO, Steve Collins, has broadly welcomed much of what the new housing secretary said in Manchester this week and the government’s intention to help those currently renting, and to secure a better deal for those in social housing.
Michael Gove said there is a “terrible situation” where renters who want to buy a home are paying more for “real uncertainty” than people with a mortgage are paying “to acquire that asset”.
This was amplified by the ONS report this week which demonstrated that those lower income earners living in private rented accommodation pay a significantly larger percentages of their income in rent – 38%, compared to the 23% paid by average or higher income earners.
Michael Gove also spoke about social housing providers both improving stock and increasing numbers. While he hinted at plans for a policy aimed at making it easier for first-time buyers to “secure finance” to become homeowners, Gove coyly added that “it is the case that we do need to look at access to finance overall, I won’t say much about that at this stage.”
Gove also addressed the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda: “In my department that will mean investing in urban regeneration with new homes on neglected brownfield sites, a better deal for those in social housing and helping more of those who currently rent to own their own homes.”
We welcome these comments – because it is already at the fore of what Rentplus does and is already delivering on.
Rentplus has removed the deposit barrier for renters who move into a brand-new attractive home without the need for an upfront deposit. Tenants pay affordable rent (80% of market rate or LHA). We gift them 10% towards their savings when they are ready to buy – so they have real equity in their home. Not only do we have a higher percentage of our renters turning into homeowners than Shared Ownership or Help to Buy, but those benefitting have lower earnings than the government’s own programmes.
Rentplus provides additionality of social housing on new developments, many on brownfield sites, increasing the number of social houses and providing a route for local people to get on the housing ladder. Our tenants largely come from existing social housing or are on waiting lists, paying high private rent and unable to save for their deposit. We’ve removed that barrier to give people access to homes in places they want to live, allowing them to live and work and bring up their families and contribute to their local communities; and we are doing this across England.
We provide incentives for housing associations. They get increased stock and new income streams, without having to raise further debt. The rental income they derive from Rentplus tenants funds repairs to outdated social housing stock or provides debt counselling to tenants.
Crucially, Rentplus has been doing this without any government funding. For over five years, Rentplus’ institutional investors have provided homes for families across the country, just as Peter Freeman, Chair of Homes England, is now calling for. Rentplus has affordable rent to buy tenanted homes (including those in development or accepted offers) across 35 counties in partnership with 55 local authorities across England.
Rentplus looks forward to working with Gove’s team and continuing to deliver – at pace – greener, more beautiful places to live for our key workers and other lower income earners, helping them fulfil their dream of turning from being a renter to a homeowner.